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Cause for Alarm!

Published 1951
Topics drama

You can find more information regarding this film on its IMDb page.

Run time 74:00
Producer Tom Lewis
Audio/Visual sound, b&w


Reviewer: junya - - October 21, 2012
Subject: Diary of a Mad Housewife?
"This is where I live. I'm a housewife."

That is how the narrator brings us into her world - before she even gives her name. But then it gets really strange:

"Even the housework seemed drudgery"

Like housework is normally so exciting?? But our narrator goes on to explain:

"so meaningless with George confined to his bed. No one to see or care even."

And we now understand that our narrator is telling us that her entire perspective is based on what George sees - regardless of that of friends or visitors: "...he needed all of my thoughts". This is getting spooky - the model Stepford wife?

Yet despite this obsession, when George keels over, she immediately writes him off as dead without checking. And how does she fill the void when George is gone? She then spends the rest of the movie giving all her thoughts to how she appears to others - in her mind, everyone can become part of George's plot to condemn her (except Hoppy).

The drama is in watching her facade of normalcy self-destruct amidst LA's facade of sunny suburban serenity:
"This is where I live. I'm a housewife."

Part of Loretta Young's image was, what we would call today, "role-model": a perfect housewife ("The Stranger"), a woman to look up to (fashion hostess on her TV show, and see Women At War Week trailer Watching this movie we can't help but ask: is this housewife's life a model of devotion, or merely a facade for a web of deceit?
Reviewer: rredford - - October 6, 2012
Subject: Great performances, all!
Even the kid, "Hoppy".

A 5-star gem of noir.
Reviewer: fflambeau - - January 4, 2011
Subject: High Suspense & Good Acting
“Cause for Alarm”

This 1951 film noir features music by Andre Previn with the underrated Barry Sullivan and Loretta Young starring. Nice dialogue (As a nurse wheels out a sailor in a wheelchair: “there’s nothing a woman likes better than shoving a man around”; Loretta to Barry: “Tell me about the baby you’re expect”. Barry’s response: “Does Ripley know about this?”). Sullivan turns in a terrific performance as a neurotic, jealous, bed-ridden husband and Young in turn acts superbly as his loving wife seemingly caught up by fate. Lots of suspense skillfully built up by the director with an excellent script and side actors.

A gem of a movie.
Reviewer: Dr Feel Rotten - - October 23, 2010
Subject: Loretta Young
Hot as a firecracker and also a great actress to boot gives a great performance here. It's as usual very convincing and she does scared very well.
Reviewer: admiral halsey - - August 2, 2010
Subject: Loretta Young
Loretta young shows off her considerable acting abilities in this gripping film,the guy who plays the postman is brilliant!

A must see!
Reviewer: PowerhouseAnimation - - March 20, 2010
Subject: Alfalfa
Look for Carl Schweitzer (Alfalfa from Our Gang) as a teenager working on his car.
Reviewer: - - February 10, 2008
Subject: Classic Thriller
Loretta Young was nothing less than fabulous (as usual) in her performance here, keeping viewers like me on the edge of their seat hoping she won't do what she does next.

This film really shows the viewer how things can unfold step by step.

Barry Sullivan's role as the manipulative and allegedly dying spouse is exquisitely portrayed, as well, and casting he and Loretta together gave this movie the spark that makes it what I would call one of Hollywood's better suspense-thriller classics.
Reviewer: Lisa MW - - September 11, 2005
Subject: Funny
When this man dies, the lady does a wonderful job of trying to cover her guilt (and she was innocent!)
Reviewer: stef - - January 11, 2005
Subject: Desperate housewife
The postman crack me up!
Reviewer: Grant Campbell - - July 6, 2004
Subject: This Deserves a Viewing
OK, it can't hold a candle to Mildred Pierce or the great Hitchcock nailbiters, but this competent little thriller deserves its day. Loretta Young does a very nice job, despite the fact that her character is possibly the silliest heroine this side of Jean Hagen in "Singin' in the Rain." My favourite line ran something like this: after 30 minutes of ever-more frantic lying, her voice-over narration says, "I had to control myself, and remember what I'd told people." Plot lines and visual motifs are left unresolved, and the characters remain underdeveloped; still, it's a nifty way to spend less than 90 minutes of your life.
Reviewer: AppleGirl - - June 25, 2004
Subject: Hitchcock-style suspense!
Loretta Young was never more fabulous! She unravels in a most spectacular way as her sick husband puts his evil plot into motion. It all involves a letter he wrote to the D.A., and her frantic, hopeless attempts to retrieve the letter after she mailed it. During her whole nightmare ordeal, friendly little neighbor characters keep popping up at the worst possible moments, and she does a poor job of pretending everything's just fine. Great suspense from start to finish. Lots of outdoor scenes of 1940s Los Angeles, good views of streets with 1920s stucco homes.
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